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How Social was Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)?

What does Islam teach us on having good social relations. How is a Muslim expected to  behave, associate and treat other fellow human beings? In order to take a look at the moral, social and religious obligations of a Muslim towards someone outside Islam, lets go back to the time of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).

That the Prophet was trustworthy, defended justice, sided with the poor and weak, gave importance to familial relations, emphasized the rights of parents, and had many similar characteristics are all matters of historical record. That he had such a character indicates his uniqueness. And that is the reason we consider all the actions and behaviour of the Messenger of God, as Sunnah. Meaning we have to follow his example and try our level best to be like him in all ways. Including the way he conducted himself with people. So Lets take the aspect of his relations with those outside Islam and strive to follow in his footsteps.

His Composure 

The Prophet (pbuh) made contact with non Muslim leaders and chiefs from different regions of Arabia. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) taught a message of justice, peace, human rights, animal rights and even environmental rights as ordained by Allah. Allah has shown us in the character of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) the model of a compassionate person. He treated every one, friends and foe, man and woman, young and old, with kindness and respect.

His Patience

Even when the pagan Arabs reacted to the message of the Prophet with extreme hatred, he exhibited great patience. The Prophet always treated people well; he used kind words and avoided rude and aggressive behavior. He was always sincere in his relationships and he abstained from unnecessary arguments. As a matter of fact, despite the rude behavior of some of the communities he encountered while spreading the religion, the Prophet curbed his anger and remained patient.

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“If you wish I will bring together the two mountains that stand opposite to each other at the extremities of Makkah to crush the people of Taif in between”

One such example is when the prophet journeyed to the city of Taif that was in a valley. As the prophet delivered the message of Allah to them, the people of Taif were not even ready to listen to him. They greeted him with mockery and ridicule. They pelted him with rocks and drove him out of the city, wounded and covered with blood. At this time of hardship an angel came down by the command of Allah and asked the messenger of Allah “If you wish I will bring together the two mountains that stand opposite to each other at the extremities of Makkah to crush the people of Taif in between” but the Prophet did not wish so, instead the Messenger of Allah made a prayer for them, asking Allah to at least guide their offspring. What a display of patience, tolerance and understanding despite the hostility shown towards him. Subhanallah

Despite whatever hatred, evil, and hardships come our way by others we have to remain patient, tolerant and never wish harm to befall those who caused us such distress. instead we should hope for goodness and guidance for them by Allah.
Allah says in the Quran in surah al qasas, verse 54: Those will be given their reward twice for what they patiently endured and [because] they avert evil through good”
Allah Himself, the Creator of all mankind is saying that He will double the reward of those who are patient, who endure, when evil is done to them. and that they should respond to such evil through good actions.

His Calmness  

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) also never coerced people when communicating Islam to them. He never forced them to accept the messages he was conveying in line with the principle, “There is no compulsion in religion” (as stated in chapter Al-Baqarah, verse 256). He did not listen to those who advised or desired the use of violence to bring people to Islam and always remained distant from such people.

His Acceptance

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) saw no harm in different communities living together, with each community contributing something useful to society. For instance, Muslims and non-Muslims were able to live together in peace in Medina. The Prophet signed a treaty in Madinah with the Jews and people of the book. It stated that they would all protect one another , and live side by side fulfilling the rights of each other. The Jews and people of the book could practice their faith and the Muslims would practice theirs. That they would not harm one another nor assist anyone who comes to harm either one of them. These were some of the conditions set in the treaty. Ensuring safety, equality, and freedom of faith to all in the community.

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The Jews and Muslims could live side by side according to the treaty signed.

The Quran mentions the prophets kind and gentle behavior in these words: “O Messenger of Allah! It is a great Mercy of God that you are gentle and kind towards them; for, had you been harsh and hard-hearted, they would all have broken away from you” (chapter 3:159).

His Unity

Another great example of the prophets capability of uniting the people through justice and equality is when the renovations of the Ka’aba took place.
The Ka’aba was in the lower section of Mecca, and due to continuous rains it had become old and collapsed. So it was being renovated. The work progressed well until al-Hajar-ul-Aswad, the Black Stone, was to be put back in its place. Each quarter of the Ka’aba was being built by one leading family of Mecca. Each family felt the honour of placing the Black Stone as belonging to them.

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Each family felt the honour of placing the Black Stone as belonging to them.

The disagreement became deeper, and led to a lot of argument, shouting and abuse.
One member stood up and said, “I have a suggestion, let us wait till tomorrow and see who enters the Mosque first in the morning; then let him decide”. They anxiously waited next morning to see who was the first to come and enter. It was prophet Muhammad (pbuh). He was told about what the people of Makkah were fighting about. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) put his robe on the floor, he took the sacred Black Stone and placed it in the centre of the robe and said. “The chief of each family will take one corner of the robe and lift it together”. With that, each understood a marvelous example of justice in sharing the honour. When the robe with the Black Stone was lifted to a reasonable height. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) took the Black Stone and put it in its proper place with his own hands. None felt insulted and each had his share of the privilege and honour.
This is how Muhammad (Saws) the Prophet of Islam succeeded in uniting the Arab tribes with his honesty, justice and noble character.

 

His Behaviour

Many people embraced Islam due to the behaviour and attitude of the Messenger and his companions towards them. It moved them so much they wondered what is this religion that teaches such good values, such good morals despite the hate and anger they used to exhibit towards him.  They use to harass him in every way they knew.

One old woman made it a habit of throwing dirt on Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) whenever he passed from her house. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) had to pass that house daily on the way to the mosque. Even when the old woman threw dirt on him, he would pass silently without showing any anger or annoyance. This was a regular, daily event.

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The old woman always threw dirt on the Prophet.

One day when the Prophet was passing by, the woman was not there to throw the dirt. He stopped and asked the neighbour about her well-being. The neighbour informed the Prophet that the woman was sick on bed. The Prophet politely asked permission to visit the woman.  When allowed he entered the house, the woman thought that he had come there to take his revenge when she was unable to defend herself because of sickness. But the Prophet assured her that he had come to her, not to take any revenge, but to see her and to look after her needs, as it was the command of Allah that if any one is sick, a Muslim should visit him and should help him if his help is needed.
The old woman was greatly moved by this kindness and love of the Prophet. By the example of greatness of Prophet Muhammad(pbuh) , she understood that he was truly the Prophet of God and Islam was the true religion. She accepted Islam at once.

His Equality

The Prophet (pbuh) also emphasized the importance of piety as the hallmark of respect. In his farewell speech, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) stated that “An Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab, nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab … a white person has no superiority over a black, nor does a black have any superiority over white except by piety and good action.” The Last Sermon is the culminating point of Prophet Muhammad’s life. He challenged a disunited population that was constantly engaged in warfare by calling on people to unite under a banner of humanity.

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He said to the Prophet: “This is a funeral of a Jew.”

Once the prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and several of his companions were sitting down along a street in Medina. One of the companion spotted a funeral procession approaching the group. In respect of the dead human body, prophet Muhammad (pbuh) stood up as the procession crossed in front of him. At that moment, a companion, who was still sitting down, said to the Prophet, “This is a funeral of a Jew.” Upon hearing these words, the prophet became upset and said to the companion, “Is he not a human soul?”

From this we can see that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) respected human beings irrespective of their religion. He taught mankind that every human soul is important, whether alive or dead. This was the prophets concept of dignity. He defended humanity.

The Prophet continuously warned the Muslims to treat the non-Muslims using positive behavior and attitudes.

Also Allah says in the Quran, (60:8): “God does not forbid you from those who do not fight you because of religion and do not expel you from your homes – from dealing kindly and justly with them. Indeed, God loves those who act justly.”

From the example of the prophet and the above quranic verse we can understand how tolerant and accomadative is islam as a religion and the extent to which islam teaches its followers with regard to coexistence with people of all colours, all tribes, all casts, all religions, all races and all nations.
It is sometimes incorrectly stated that islam was spread at the point of the sword. The above examples of the prophet clearly indicates that the companions of the prophet who travel widely was an influence on the people whomever they met by their conduct of honesty, sincerity, patience, good morals and tolerance.

His Love

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said: “None of you have faith until you love for your neighbor and brother what you love for yourself” (Sahih Muslim)
This is a beautiful saying of the Prophet. It says anything you love for yourself, anything you wish you had, or you want to have, wish the same for your neighbour. All the good you wish you had, wish the same for your neighbour. Whoever it may be.

This saying of the prophet is another indicator of absolute magnanimity of the conduct of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) through which he taught his followers by practical example how to respect a fellow human being through which to enhance healthy, social relationship. This also furthers the idea how much emphasis is laid down in the teachings of Islam in relation to building and sustaining healthy society governed by the principles of justice, equity and tolerance. As Muslims we have this great lesson taught to us by the quran and the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and the exemplified demonstration of these teachings by the prophet.

Therefore a Muslim believes that it is not permissible, under any circumstances whatsoever, for a Muslim to mistreat those who are not muslims, who is not hostile towards Islam; so the Muslim should not commit aggression against him, or frighten him, or terrorize him. We should instead pray for their goodness and well being, treat them with kindness, patience and treat them with justice, this is how the messenger of Allah treated and prayed for them.

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A simple smile 

“Repel [evil] by that [deed] which is better; and thereupon the one whom between you and him is enmity [will become] as though he was a devoted friend.” (Quran, 41:34)

Here Allah says that despite anyone showing enmity or hate, we should try to cover the evil done by doing good in return, hoping that it’ll soften their hearts.

A simple smile to another being, an act of kindness and care, being a comfort to those in distress or assisting those in need can bring unity and love between communities. Different religions, casts or races should not be a hindrance to our moral values. We should treat everyone with respect.

 

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What Is Halal? Why All The Fuss?

By: M. Tariq Miskin

 

logo-halal.pngThe confusion regarding halal meat is not a new phenomenon, and due to the lack of knowledge on what exactly halal means, it has led to the rise in misinformation among non-muslims regarding halal certification, which is primarily intended for the benefit of Muslims. Halal essentially means “permissible”, which includes food as well as all actions and deeds which are made permissible by Allah, and almost every Muslim knows the difference between haram and halal food. But why do we have to eat only halal food? What are the benefits of eating halal?

Allah mentions in the Qu’ran;

“Therefore, eat of that on which Allah’s name has been mentioned if you are believers in His verses.” (Qur’an 6:118)

This verse clearly indicates that Allah has decreed when it comes to eating meat items, we have to consume slaughtered meat on which Allah’s name has been mentioned. Therefore, Allah has given permission for us to eat meat which is slaughtered in His name.

Allah also goes on to say;

“Do not eat anything over which the name of Allah has not been mentioned. To do so is abomination. The Satans inspire their friends to dispute with you. If you obeyed them, you would then be idolaters.” (Qur’an 6:121)

Thus it is clear that it is a major sin to eat meat which has not been slaughtered in the halal method (i.e. mentioning Allah’s name before slaughtering and following proper procedure). Furthermore, it is not permissible to eat meat on which Allah’s name has not been mentioned even if the slaughtering was done by a Muslim.

By these two ayahs alone we can clearly see the importance of halal food for us Muslims. But Allah’s guidance regarding anything is not without reason. There is infinite wisdom to Allah’s words in the Qur’an. Consequently, we can assume that meat slaughtered in the halal method has also other benefits.

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What is the Halal way of slaughter?

Halal meat when compared to other meat, gives us many health benefits. First of all, if implemented the proper way, halal slaughtering is very sanitary, safe and a humane method of slaughtering animals. To be slaughtered in the Islamic way, the animal has have led a pure, healthy life. It should have been treated humanely during its lifetime with no mistreatment or causing of any pain in any way possible. It should not have been restricted in its movement, and should have been given fresh air to breath. It should have been treated for any diseases during its lifetime, fed a healthy feed and clean water, given the proper immunization etc. Even during the sacrifice, the animal should never be slaughtered in front of other animals and the procedure should be as less painful for the animal as possible. Even the knife should not be shown to the animal until the moment of sacrifice. Therefore, the whole procedure is done in such a way that it is one of the most humane methods of slaughtering.

For example, it has been shown that the Islamic method of slaughtering is much less painful than other methods such as captive bolt stunning, which is the most common method used in the western world. For instance, a study using EEG electrodes on sheep conducted by Wilhelm Schulze at the University of Veterinary Medicine in Germany in 1978 concluded that if carried properly, the halal method and kosher method of slaughter is painless for the animal. Also in 2008, the French Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fishing published a report which essentially summarized that the religious methods of slaughter (halal and kosher etc.) is equal or even superior to other methods of slaughter. It is concluded in these reports that the religious slaughter causes less stress and trauma to the animal in comparison to other methods.

What’s so special about Halal slaughter?

The halal method incorporates the slitting of the carotid artery and the jugular vein in the neck of the animal with a sharp knife. Since the spinal cord is left intact the neural connection between the brain and the heart is not disrupted and the heart keeps pumping blood until all the blood is drained from the animal. This rapid loss of blood from the body makes the animal lose consciousness fast. Therefore, the animal feels almost no pain.

Moreover, in the halal method, the blood of an animal, which may carry toxins, bacteria, viruses and parasites, is completely drained. Therefore, the meat is less likely to be contaminated by deadly pathogens unlike other methods and is considered more hygienic. Due to halal meat containing less germs it may even have a longer shelf life and can be more durable than other meats.

Two basic principles of religion are:

  1. Halal – which Allah and His Messenger have permitted
  2. Haram – which Allah and His Messenger have forbidden

Allah says in the Quran:

“And this is My path, which is straight, so follow it; and do not follow [other] ways, for you will be separated from His way. This has He instructed you that you may become righteous.” (6:153)

It is evident that Allah has forbidden or made permissible certain things with good reason. Even though, it might not be apparent for us all the time, with his infinite wisdom  Allah has commanded us to lead a healthy life, mainly because a healthy person is able to worship and carry out Allah’s commandments better than a sick person. Thus it is advantageous for all of us to eat and drink from that which Allah has made permissible so that we may gain the benefits not only in this world but also the hereafter as well. Inshallah.

 

Whisperings Of The Devil

By Noori Tirmizi Passela

Very so often it is easy to fall back into old habits, particularly when it comes tocute-meow-cat remembering Allah and avoiding the lure of worldly temptations. Gradually, despite even our best efforts, prayer and zhikr end up getting relegated to the sidelines of our lives in favor of work, family, leisure, and those rare moments when you just want to while away your time to the soothing purr of Youtube cat videos.

To each his (and her) own poison, is what I myself admit.

Hence, the adage ‘know your enemy’ has never been more relevant than a time like now. God works in mysterious ways, but the Devil lacks that brand of subtlety. So, now that we’ve identified our villain, it would also do ourselves well to conduct a brief background check.

Who or what is Shaytan?

You might recall Shaytan’s most memorable appearance in history in the span of a simple, yet telling, verse from the Holy Quran:

‘And (remember) when We said to the angels: “Prostrate yourselves unto Adam.” So they prostrated themselves, except Iblis. He was one of the jinn; he disobeyed the command of his Lord.’ (18:50)

While borne of a ‘smokeless fire’ (Sahih Muslim), jinn are still creations of Allah and like the angels and mankind, were brought to life for the sole purpose of worshipping Him. Which makes Iblis’ act of defiance all the more damning when taking our Creator’s wrath into account.

‘(Allah) said: “Then get out from here; for verily, you are outcast.”

‘”And verily My Curse is on you until the Day of Recompense.”’ (38:77-78)

Hence, if we can pin a defining trait unto Shaytan, it is that of willful disobedience, wrought by a strong sense of misplaced pride. Coupled with a knack for mischief and treachery, Shaytan certainly makes for a force to be reckoned with. Aadam (A.S.) and Hawwa (Eve) certainly found that out the hard way, and so has every single person you’ve ever known, at some point in their lives.

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What is meant by the ‘Whisperings of Shaytan’?

How many of you can honestly state, without a shred of doubt, that you have never delayed or just completely disregarded an act of worship in favor of pursuing activities which vary on the scale of relevance to your spiritual health?

Here is where I hang my head in shame. Blame it on the free Wi-Fi.

Or this could be the part where we conduct a crash course in the exact machinations of Shaytan’s modus operandi. Granted, your mileage may vary when it comes to the limitations of ‘exact’.

However, I’m sure you’ve all at least had a few moments like mine, where, despite your best intentions, you find yourself straying from the path of truth and virtue. If you’re confident that you haven’t, then I commend you on your state of denial.

Distraction is quite possibly Shaytan’s most finely-honed weapon in Hell’s vast arsenal. Made a resolution to start your preparations for Salah as soon as the first word of the Azaan rang out? Too bad your Facebook alert went off at the exact same moment. What about that time when you vowed to start reading the Quran? Oh wait, you dozed off watching sitcoms after stuffing your face with Mum’s cooking.

Feelings of envy and distrust are also common methods by which Shaytan creates discord. When the grass on the other side of the fence always appears greener, it’s sadly quite natural to find yourself blaming your neighbor for hogging all the luck whilst neglecting to examine the shadows in your own garden. Jealousy is a steep curve and it always leads downhill.

Let us also not forget how each and every sin of ours lends credence to Shaytan’s helping hand, from the seemingly harmless white lie blurted to get out of trouble to the more troubling thoughts that plague those who would go to the extent of harming their fellow human beings to satisfy whatever worldly desire stirred by these whisperings.

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A ‘whisper’ may be but a breath, but more often than not, a single breath is all it takes to put out the light.

Well, that was a cheerful discussion. Now how do we avoid falling prey to these whispers?

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“I seek refuge in Allah, from Satan, the Rejected.”

Many a time would have passed without us pausing to consider the significance of these words. Words, indeed, that we let slide too often in the commencement of our prayers, Quran recitation, and, sometimes, daily activities.

But It’s as simple as that.

Surah al Nas embodies this concept perfectly:

‘Say: “I seek refuge with (Allah) the Lord of mankind, the King of mankind, the Ilah (God) of mankind, from the evil of the whisperers (devil who whispers evil in the hearts of men) who withdraws (from his whispering in one’s heart after one remembers Allah). Who whispers in the breasts of mankind. Of jinn and men.’ (114: 1-6)

The challenge lies in the strength of one’s Imaan (faith) and if they truly have the intention to preserve it from the stain of evil thoughts.

So seek strength through constant remembrance of Allah in prayer and zhikr. Learn the meaning of the words which too often leave our lips without a thought. With knowledge comes power and the weight behind these verses will eventually leave their mark.

Of course, noble deeds cannot come into fruition without the niyyah (intention) to propel them. Take time to reflect on what you’ve learned from past mistakes and whether these missteps were really a sign that you just might be on the way to something better.

Back when I was in school, we learned that the word ‘Islam’ is derived from the root ‘slm’ which means ‘to submit, surrender’. It is a simple lesson that has since stuck with me, making it apt that we, as Muslims, submit completely to Allah.

Therefore, let us do just that and reject the path of defiance, inshallah.

New Mums Don’t Stress!!

By: Iman Said

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Whether you are becoming a mother for the first time or adding to your brood, the prospect of being responsible for all the needs of another human being, can be incredibly overwhelming. While pregnant, you are concerned about meeting the needs of your growing baby, how labour is going to pan out, and trying to prepare yourself for the life-changing moment when you bring your son or daughter into this world. I found that I received a lot of advice about pregnancy and labour, what kind of nappies to buy, what to pack in my hospital bag and heard constant references to how I would ‘never sleep again.’

While advice on practical things like that is helpful, two years and two children later, I wished that people had given me advice on the more important things and told me a little more about what to expect and how to cope with it all. Here’s a list of things you may be feeling as a new mum, and ways to cope with the roller coaster of emotions. When you feel:tired-dad-multitasking1

  • Tired: If you have family or friends nearby who have offered to babysit or help you to clean or will cook for you – accept it. Don’t try to be a martyr. Use that time to rest and recuperate or even just to shower and maybe take a walk by yourself – whatever you need to do to catch your breath and feel a little like you again.

 

  • Scared: A lot of mums are terrified at the prospect of having to care for someone so little, especially with several reports of cot deaths and deaths caused by suffocation with plastic packaging or from unsecured furniture falling on top of children. Worrying is part of motherhood and is completely normal – it’s good to be aware of potential dangers inside and outside your home that your child can be exposed to and how to minimise the risk of something happening. As long as that does not turn into a debilitating kind of worry where you are unable to function properly, you are doing just fine. 

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  • Unattractive: Pregnancy takes a toll on our bodies – there’s no question about it. It takes 40 weeks for us to grow full term babies within our bodies and for all those hormonal, skin and other bodily changes to take place, so give your body that much time at the very least, to recover postpartum. When you look down at that soft belly and those stretch marks, instead of being disgusted, be grateful you were chosen to carry your children and proud that you did it and did it well.

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  • Overwhelmed: There are days where it can seem like there isn’t a start or end. Days that begin with feeding, changing, rocking a baby to sleep and repeat. Add to that laundry, cooking, cleaning, self-care and anything else that you need to get done and it is enough to overwhelm anyone. Take a deep breath. Tell yourself that what needs to get done, will get done and anything that doesn’t – there’s always tomorrow. If your baby is on some sort of a schedule, try and wake up about half an hour before they do. Just having 30 minutes to yourself, to wash up, throw some clothes on, do your hair, pray or meditate and have breakfast to yourself gives you a better start to the day and you will often find that the rest of the day pans out much better when you’ve had a good start.

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  • Confused: A lot of first time mums, and mums who have done it all before, can feel confused about various things from what dirty diapers should look like to how many feeds baby should be having to wondering why their belly button is red or what they should do for circumcision aftercare or how much tummy time they should introduce -the list is endless. No question is a stupid question. Knowledge is power, and the more you have, the better equipped you are to care for your child. Join baby forums online; learn from other mums who have babies the same age as yours and may be going through similar challenges. Speak to your health visitor or health care professional about any concerns you have, try not to Google symptoms that can lead to you being even more scared and confused. Your baby will go through several developmental phases and I found a resource called ‘The Wonder Weeks’ to be incredibly helpful in determining periods where I could expect my children to be crankier and clingier than usual, and I was able to prepare myself mentally and emotionally for them. This is available in app form too – so is handy to have on your phone.

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  • Guilty: I cannot remember a day in the past two years where I have not gone to bed feeling guilty that I did not do more, whether that is for the kids or my husband. It can be incredibly exhausting to always have to worry that you didn’t cuddle more, or that I had way too much screen time that day, or that you and your husband weren’t even able to have a conversation that wasn’t about the kids, but you are doing your best. For your family – that is more than enough. You don’t have to be perfect – because no one is, but to your children, you are amazing.

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The sleepless nights will end and will lead to weeks and months of ‘firsts’ and while the challenges may be different as they grow, the roller coaster ride of feelings, special moments and experiences will continue for as long as you are a mum. Remember that you are good enough, you are doing enough and you are mum enough.

**Iman is a work at home/ stay at home mum of two. A mother, wife and organising junkie – she blogs over at Andthenshesaid.com and Andthensheate.com, where she shares the beautiful, chaotic, ever-changing life journey that she’s on through her DIY, recipes and home organisation ramblings.

 

ZIKR & IT’S IMPORTANCE

By: Sharzana Muthalip

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When you stand by the beach looking out at the vast ocean, there is a soothing sound that you hear, which keeps you mesmerized. If questioned, about the origin of that sound you would say it was the sound of the sea, caused by the huge waves crashing against one another. Similarly, have you paid attention to the rustling of leaves on a windy day or the buzzing of a bee and pondered over it. We would say that all these sounds were made by nature. But, did you know, that some scholars interpret these sounds to be the result of the creations of Allah following His command and glorifying and praising Him. But since we are so limited in our knowledge we are unable to comprehend it.

Allah says in the Quran:

“The seven heavens and the earth and whatever is in them exalt Him. And there is not a thing except that it exalts [ Allah ] by His praise, but you do not understand their [way of] exalting. Indeed, He is ever Forbearing and Forgiving.” (Surah Al-Isra : 44)

Some of us think that to do zikr means to take a thasbih and say Subhanallah, Alhamdulillah, Allahu Akbar, etc.. But this is just one of the different forms of zikr called zikr-ul-lisan (zikr of the tongue). Did you know that obeying the injunctions of Allah like praying, fasting, Hajj, etc; as well as following the sunnahs of Prophet Muhammad (saws) are also zikr . Just contemplating about Allah when you are by yourself is another kind of zikr, done silently by your heart (zikr-ul-qalb).Dollarphotoclub_71319952.jpg

Engaging in zikr has many benefits, one of the most important being to cure the spiritual diseases of the heart like pride, jealousy, hatred, insincerity and desire for worldly pleasures.

 

 

There’s a hadith of the Prophet (SAWS) where he says: ‘’Indeed there is a piece of flesh in the body  when that stays right, the whole body stays right, when that goes astray, the whole body goes astray! Listen carefully, that is the Qalb (the heart)’’. (Bukhari)

The heart is like a key to the rest of our body. If we safeguard it, we will be able to protect the other parts, for eg; the tongue, which when we indulge in zikr helps us keep away from bad habits like backbiting, lying and gossiping.

Frequent zikr helps us to be aware of Allah and of our soul. This is very important because in (Surah Al-Hashr, verse 19) Allah says:

‘’And be not like those who forgot Allah, so He made them forget themselves. Those are the defiantly disobedient.’’

If you forget Allah, He says he will make you forget yourselves. What does that mean?

It means you become careless about yourself and your well being. You forget the real interests in life. So just like how when a farmer neglects his crops, it gets yellows and wilted; same will be the plight of such a person’s life. He will be a loser in both this world and the next.

 

Zikr is also a means of getting near to Allah. It is a source of spiritual elevation, whether one is engaged in it in bed or at work, in health or sickness, at hard times or good times.

In Surah Baqarah : verse 152,  Allah says:

‘’So remember Me; I will remember you.”

The creator of this universe, the creator of you and me is saying that if you remember Him, He will remember you. In another beautiful hadith Allah, the Almighty, says:

‘’I am as My servant thinks I am. I am with him when he makes mention of Me. If he makes mention of Me to himself, I make mention of him to Myself; and if he makes mention of Me in an assembly, I make mention of him in an assembly better than it. And if he draws near to Me a hand’s span, I draw near to him an arm’s length; and if he draws near to Me an arm’s length, I draw near to him a fathom’s length, And if he comes to Me walking, I go to him at speed.’’ (Muslim)

Again who’s saying this? Allah Subhanahu Wata’la, the Lord of the worlds, is saying this to us. Lets analyse the gravity of this hadith using a fact.

Did you also know that your nose can remember 50,000 different scents from memory. So, if you are blindfolded and if someone keeps a mango piece near your nose you can guess its a mango. In the same way you can smell and tell the difference between a jasmine flower and a rose flower. Similarly, the nose can identify 50,000 different scents. Who is responsible for creating this amazing nose we use everyday? This same creator is conveying to you that if you come to Him walking; He will come to you running. Subhanallah, Subhanallah.

We are so ungrateful. We are such wrongdoers. We listen to such hadith with awe and then simply forget about it. Are we even worthy of such beautiful and Merciful words from our Creator?

We should be resolute in making zikr part of our daily life because the Prophet (SAWS) has said: “The similitude of one who remembers his Rubb and on who does not remember Him, is like that of the living and the dead.’’ (Sahih Bukhari)

Zikr transforms distraction into concentration, remoteness into nearness and brings tranquillity at times of troubles, worries and fears. Ones mistakes and sins are forgiven through it and the Shaitan is dispersed away. One realises reality of this life, remembers that the Hereafter is not far away and the worldly life has little attraction for him.

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Let us endeavor, to nourish our souls with zikr, so that our souls can grow in the path of Allah and by this means we can attain Allah Subhanahu Wata’alas pleaure and Mercy. Ameen

 

 

 

Zakah – All you need to now

 

By: Mass Shiara Usuf

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The Quran says in (2 : 155),

“And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient.” 

What comes to our mind when one hears the word zakah? Month of Ramadan, gold, silver, money etc. In English terminology, charity is known to be voluntary, not compulsory. But in the shariah, when one talks about Zakah, it is the obligatory charity. A compulsory one.

WHAT DOES ZAKAH MEAN?

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Zakah comes from the root word Za Ka Wa. There are several meanings for it according to the Quran. In some places Allah mentions it as a form of purification and  cleansing. Why purification?? Because when one gives Zakah, one actually cleans and purifies ones soul and wealth. It gives the giver a sense of care, affection and love towards those in need. It dawns on the giver the condition of those less fortunate than him, and helps them to be thankful to Allah for all that they have been blessed with. 

TYPES OF CHARITY

Now there are different types of charity. We have the zakah, which is the compulsory one. The one that allah has instructed and commanded us to pay. It is one of the five main and important pillars of islam. Now the other types of charity are for instance:

Kaffara charity – which is paid when one fails to do a required act of ibadah for whatever reason, or when one commits a sin. The amount of charity that one pays as a result of the sin depends on the degree of the sin that one has committed.

Fidyah charity – which is charity that is paid for various reasons. For instance due to some ill health one is not able to fast in the month of Ramadan, then one is required to pay fidyah. With regards to hajj, when one violates the restrictions of the ihram, then one is required to pay fidyah charity or fast or sacrificing an animal.

Fitrah charity – The  zakathul fitr which is paid before  the Eid ul Fitr prayer.

 

WHEN TO GIVE ZAKAH?

Zakah can be given any time of the year, once the item on which zakah is to paid has completed one full calendar year of possession. The misconception is that Zakah HAS to be paid only in Ramadan. Its not like that. The purpose of giving zakah in this month is so that we get more reward while in the state of fasting.

ON WHAT SHOULD WE GIVE ZAKAH?

Zakah is to be paid on a number of things. Such as livestock (goats, camels etc.). However what the common man possesses is usually gold, silver and money. So I will mainly touch only on those areas in terms of zakah.

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HOW MUCH ZAKAH TO PAY?

  • Gold : If you have a possession of more than 84.7 grams of gold for a period of one whole year, then by the end of that one year of possession, you should pay 2.5% of zakah on the excess of 84,7 grams of gold. For instance, you own 94.7 grams of gold for a period of one year. So by the end of one year of possession, you should pay 2.5% of the excess i.e. 10 grams of 2.5%, and that would be the amount that you are supposed to pay as zakah.

 

  • Silver: If you have a possession of more than 592.9 grams of silver for a period of one whole year, then by the end of that one year of possession, you should pay 2.5% of zakah on the excess of 592.9 grams of silver.

 

  • Cash: If you have a possession of a certain amount of cash (untouched for one whole year), then you have to see the price of 592.9 grams of silver as at the end of one year, and if the amount of money (untouched) that you possess is more than the monetary market value of 592.9 grams of silver, then you have to pay 2.5% of zakah on that excess money that you possess. For instance, if you own Rs. 50,000 for one whole year (untouched), and the market value of 592.9 grams of silver by the end of that one year is Rs. 30,000 then you have an excess of Rs. 20,000 in possession, for which you must pay zakah. That is, 2.5% of Rs. 20,000.

DO NOT SAY YOU CANT

Not everyone is capable of giving zakah. But even if one does not have the provision to give charity, one shouldn’t say that one cannot give sadaqah. Sadaqah can be anything:

Abu Dhar reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said:

“Your smile to your brother is a sadaqah (charitable act) for you. Your commanding the right and forbidding the wrong is a sadaqah.  Your guiding a man in the land of misguidance is a sadaqah for you. Your seeing (showing the way) for a man with bad eyesight is a sadaqah for you. Your removing a stone or thorn or bone from the road is a sadaqah for you. Your emptying your bucket of water into your brother’s (empty) bucket is a sadaqah for you.”  

From this hadith we can see that almost every act of goodness done for others is like an act of charity. But the secret is when we do any act of goodness for the benefit of others we must keep our intentions pure.

WHAT SHOULD OUR INTENTIONS BE?

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Our intention  should be that whatever we are doing we are doing it solely to seek Allah’s pleasure and not to make a show of it to others. Whether it’s a form of charity in monetary sense or from an act of kindness towards a person.

DO NOT REMIND ANOTHER ABOUT YOUR GENEROSITY

“O you who believe! Do not render in vain your Sadaqah (charity) by reminders of your generosity or by injury, like him who spends his wealth to be seen of men, and he does not believe in Allah, nor in the Last Day. His likeness is the likeness of a smooth rock on which is a little dust; on it falls heavy rain which leaves it bare. They are not able to do anything with what they have earned. And Allah does not guide the disbelieving people.”  (2:264) 

In here Allah says do not render your sadaqah by reminders of your generosity or by injury, meaning when one gives charity to another, don’t make it a useless, worthless and rewardless charity by reminding the recipient of a charity you gave that person, nor cause injury. For instance treat that person with low status and respect, expecting that person to be thankful and helpful to you always because you helped that person. Or expecting that person to be on his toes to jump in and help you, and if he doesn’t to cause him harm in anyway by words or actions. This is completely prohibited according to the Quran. When we give sadaqah and remind people or boast about it to others, its like we are left with nothing in the end. No reward no pleasure from Allah SWT.

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There is another hadith in this regard:

Abu Dharr said that the Messenger of Allah said,

(Three persons whom Allah shall neither speak to on the Day of Resurrection nor look at nor purify, and they shall receive a painful torment: he who reminds (the people) of what he gives away, he who lengthens his clothes below the ankles and he who swears an oath while lying, to sell his merchandise.)

 

ALLAH IS RICH

“O mankind! it is you who stand in need of Allah. But Allah is the Rich, Worthy of all praise.”(35:15)

Allah is the most rich, self sufficient. He doesn’t need us in anyway what so ever. The wealth that we possess has been entrusted to us. Its not ours to keep only to ourselves. So Allah has instructed and commanded us in various places in the Quran

Akimu salah, wa thu zakah

“Establish salah and give zakat” 

Its not a choice but a command by Allah.

 

Love For Fasting

By: Sundus Ikram

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I see them lighting up the street, I see them preparing delicacies, I see them buying new clothes, I see them changing the curtains and carpets and I think to myself, is that all this beautiful month deserves? Shouldn’t its arrival be celebrated more with acts of worship and obedience to Allah? Isn’t lighting up our hearts and preparing our souls more important to show our love for fasting? We should be devoting most of our time in reciting and understanding Quran, in correcting our Salah, in asking for forgiveness, in helping the needy and in giving charity.

Our hearts should be yearning for months for the arrival of the treasures that Ramadan holds for a believer:

It is the month of mercy where sins are forgiven;

The Prophet  said: “Whoever fasts during Ramadan out of sincere faith and hoping to attain Allah’s rewards, then all his past sins will be forgiven.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari)

Prophet said : “The time between the five prayers, two consecutive Friday Prayers, and two consecutive Ramadan’s are expiations for all that has happened during that period, provided that one has avoided the grave (major) sins.” [Muslim]

It is the month of salvation where people are saved from the fire;

“There are in the month of Ramadan in every day and night those to whom Allah grants freedom from the Fire, and there is for every Muslim a supplication which he can make and will be granted.” [Hadith Ahmad, Saheeh]

“Whoever fasts one day for the sake of Allah, Allah will remove his face seventy years’ distance from the Fire.” (Muslim, 2/808).

It is the month of bliss where people are granted Jannah;

Prophet   said :”There is a gate to Paradise that is called ar-Rayyan. On the Day of Resurrection it will say: ‘Where are those who fasted?’ When the last [one] has passed through the gate, it will be locked.” [al-Bukhari and Muslim].

“When Ramadaan begins, the gates of Paradise are opened and the gates of Hell are closed, and the devils are put in chains. (Reported by al-Bukhaari, al-Fath, no. 3277).

It is the month of Layla tul Qadr – The Night of Power;

Indeed We have revealed it (Qur’an) in the night of Power. And what will explain to you what he night of Power is? The night of Power is better than a thousand months. Therein descends the Angels and the Spirit (Jibreel) by Allah’s permission, on every errand: (they say) peace”(continuously) till the rise of Morning!” (97:1-5)

We Muslims nowadays have forgotten all these blessings that Ramadan comes with and think of it as a month of abstaining from food and drinks only. Maybe that’s why we have lost the longing for its arrival unlike our pious predecessors who were called as the best people by the Prophet

Narrated by Abdullah: The Prophet  said, “The best people are those living in my generation, and then those who will follow them, and then those who will follow the latter.(Sahih Al Bukhari-Book of companions of the Prophet )

 

To become best in religion, the Muslims of today should follow the steps of these people. These were the Muslims who understood the importance of Ramadan and all the blessings it brings along with it. That’s why they would wait eagerly for its arrival.

Ma’ali bin Fudail said, ‘They used to ask Allah the Almighty six months before Ramadhan to grant them long life so that they could reach Ramadhan and they used to ask Allah the Almighty six months after Ramadhan to accept their fasting’.

iftar-dinner-080918_04This way their entire year was full of supplications and worship.

It’s also narrated that Ibn Umar  used to say when Ramadhan started, ‘Welcome oh the month that purifies us from the sins’.

The Prophet  and the companions used to engage themselves in various forms of worship before and during Ramadan. They gave much charity and engaged in even more kind acts, recitation of the Quran, prayers, remembrance and retreat. Their day was full of supplications and free from vain talks. They understood that spiritual power is in the essence of souls, it is not dependent on food or drink.

The companions of our Prophet  used to give special preference to the Quran during the holy month of Ramadhan. Their recitation was not only reading the verses but also contemplating its meaning.

When the time of iftaar arrived, they used to race in feeding the poor and the unfortunate. It’s narrated that Ibnu Umar  used to break his fast with the poor people and if a poor person came to him asking for food while he was eating he used to give him his portion.

Our pious predecessors and their love for Ramadan should be an inspiration for the present day Muslims for spiritual and moral improvement. We should never forget that the true essence of Ramadan is to keep us on the right track of religion; to attain Taqwa

“O you who believe! Observing As-Sawm (fasting) is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become Al-Muttaqun (the people of Taqwa).” [2:183]

Taqwa is being hyper-vigilent and the fear of doing haram out of neglect of Allah’s orders. It is the state of consciousness; to be mindful of Allah at all times and achieve His maximum pleasure at all times. We Muslims nowadays feel that Ramadan is all about abstaining from sins during those thirty days only and we continue to sin after the month has passed. The good deeds that we practice during Ramadan should be carried forward throughout the year. To maintain the state of taqwa and to attain nearness to Allah a true believer will continue to please Allah and avoid committing sins even after the end of the blessed month of Ramadan.

We should be grateful to Allah for the month of Ramadan because it gives us a chance to restart every single year. It gives us a chance to purify and strengthen our hearts. It gives us a chance to attain nearness to Allah. Our love for Ramadan can bring us closer to love of Allah. What bigger reason do we need to love and wait for this beautiful month?

May Allah guide the Muslim ummah to utilize the coming month of Ramadan in achieving rewards and forgiveness and in seeking the love of Allah.

“O Allah, I ask You for Your love and the love of those who love You and love of the action which will make me reach Your love. O Allah make Your love more beloved to me than myself, my family and cold water”